What's happening today - 2018 edition


My best day since the beginning of the year… full sun, temperature in the seventies and spent my morning working in the orchard among fully bloomed nectarines, apricots and pluots…



They were transplants from spring of '17. I harvested the ramps root ball intact and planted them in the woods behind my house on a gentle northwest slope. A few months later they flowered and created seed pods in which they drop automatically. I was anxious to see if they came up this year and sure enough they did.

I’ve seem them for sale online before.


Yes, JCT. In the same general area. But, Fentress is out near Great Bridge, if you remember where that is. Right on the VB line.


I got a Calamondin Citrus today. I mostly want it as an ornamental and plan to find a Valencia or Cara Cara tree for actual fruit.


Very nice, thanks for sharing. I would have enjoyed a day like that too!


thanks ill look for them. supposedly they’re native to maine but are in decline because of forestry practices.


Well, yesterday I was finally able to get the lawn mowed for the first time this year. I was dreading it, as it’s been growing pretty well for about a month now, but it was too wet to get the rider out. It actually only took me about an hour and a half to do most of it. The back yard doesn’t grow as prolifically as the rest of the property, so I was able to skip that part and the back orchard. I was able, though to get the barn orchard mowed.

This morning I got my new raspberry run mulched with some straw and fertilized all the gooseberry and blueberry plants before it started to rain on me. There are three of the bloobs that are showing some tiny green growth, while the last one hasn’t yet. I hope it’s just late and not dead. The old apple trees on the farm are just starting to show some pink buds now, the newer ones we planted haven’t hardly started to leaf out yet.

As I mentioned in another thread, I think my Crimson Passion cherry bush didn’t make it through the winter. It hasn’t shown any new buds compared with the Romeo and Juliet bushes.

The wild plum I transplanted last year seems to like its new home, as it’s blooming now, with all kinds of flying critters buzzing it. It has an OK smell, kind of a sickly sweet aroma to it. No wonder the gnats are flocking to it. Here is a pic of the plum blossoms and one of the Orient pear blossoms.

Here is the raspberry run after I put down some straw mulch on the new plantings.


Unfortunately I never made it down there all that much…

I was in Norfolk for work last week…brrr it was cold on the waterfront! Glad to get back out to the West Coast. 80’s today!


This has been the coldest, wettest, all around worse spring I think we have ever had. So cold that even my asparagus are almost a whole month late! Anyway, today I couldn’t take it any more and went out into my orchard and took a few photos, even though it was misting rain. Here are a couple shots from one part of my little orchard.

Just right of center is a 6 year old Montmorency Cherry (in almost full bloom) On the far left beside that Montmorency is is another Montmorency bought at same place and planted on same day and yet it is just starting to bloom! Directly behind both these cherries are 2 rows of 4-5 year old peach trees of different varieties.

The next photo (below) show (in center) a wild PawPaw Tree that I dug up and moved 5 years ago after I found a patch and this one was a sucker of one I thought it was an exceptionally good tasting. This is only the second year it has bloomed and it didn’t fruit last year. I have another wild transplanted one as well as a Susquehanna and Shenandoah but to my frustration this one blooms before all the others, so until I find a better timed pollinator I may never get fruit from this one with all the blooms (there is a tiny bit of overlap so there is a tiny bit of hope!) In this photo you can also see a 3-year old contender Peach behind and left of my blooming pawpaw. Just to the right behind my wild pawpaw is an unknown 5 year old European pear. It was a mislabled Asian pear and I don’t know what it is, but it produces extremely large pears that are good but nothing extraordinary. Directly behind the pawpaw, barely visable if you look straight through the pawpaw is a 5 year old 20th Century Asian pear. Last year it was same size and fullness of the Euro you can see, but Fireblight absolutely devestated it, killing about 70% of the branches.

This next photo below is just a wider shot of the first photo I posted above. You can better see the 2 Montmorency Cherries that I pointed out earlier are a little unusual in that they were bought and planted same day from same place yet one is almost a week ahead of other on bloom time this year (not always) even though they get same sun, weather, etc. In front of them coming toward the camera is a 3 year old Tulare Sweet Cherry (yes, that little one that looks too small to be 3 years old!)! Then closest to the camera on the left in bloom is a 4 year old North Start Cherry. I know most sour cherries don’t need a pollinator, but I have 3 types right together (Early Richmond is 3rd) with hopes that they will help each other produce more/better fruit. On the far left edge are 2 unknown pears. These weren’t mislabels-they were 2 of the 3 fruit trees on the property when I moved here. The large on is gigantic! It’s 40 foot tall or more. It produces every year, but every other year it has an incredible production you wouldn’t believe. They ripen in late fall but tend to rot if you leave them on the tree until they are soft, but if you pick them hard and green- even if right before the rot- then they will keep forever but dont get very soft. They are just ok. The smaller pear tree between the blooming northstar cherry and the huge pear tree is quite spread out but only about 15 feet tall. It’s pears are better tasting- sweeter. They also are almost round (though I’m sure it isn’t an Asian) They ripen about 2-3 weeks before the big pear tree-in early september.

This last photo (below) shows several trees. The small tree with just a few blooms in the center closest to camera is a Stella Sweet Cherry. I have 7 sweet cherries and they all bloom about the same time EXCEPT Stella. It is much later than all them-in fact it lines up with my sour cherries. Same row, next back is a 4 year old honey Crisp that was also devastated by fire blight last year. Next one behind it in same row is a 4-year old Gala Apple. The big bushy one behind is a 4 year old Bruce Plum. It has always been a picture of health and is my most heavy baring plum by far. Pruning takes forever. Behind is barely visible is a 4 year old Toka Plum. Coming back to the front of the second row on the left, that big nice looking green tree is a 6 year olf Black Tartarian Sweet Cherry. It blooms like a decorative/flowering only cherry tree and has always been a picture of perfect health and growth. One of the best looking, healthiest trees in my orchard (and they say you can’t grow sweet cherries in south! ha). Until last year all my other sweet cherries were too young to bloom, yet somehow this BT still managed to produce a few cherries!!! I am confident there are no other cherry trees in a mile of me, so its been a real mystery. This year I had 2 other sweet cherries bloom but they only had like 5-10 blooms total. So I hope for more set but have doubts.
In the same row as the big sweet cherry going back one is a 5 year old Red Delish. Behind it is a fun project. It was some old, awful tasting, knotty green apple tree that was there when I bought my place. It had a, 8 inch trunk and was 25 feet tall. I cut it off at 4.5 feet, leaving one large limb and stump. I bark grafted 2 varieties to stump and 2 to watersprouts comming off the remaining limb. That was 4 years ago and all 4 are huge now.
At the end of that second row you can see another big Bushy Tree. That is my 5 year old Dragon Tear Pluot you have heard me talk about so much.

Anyway, just wanted to take you on a little tour of this small area of my orchard. Hope you liked it.


Did some indoor grafting as it rained all day in Kentucky. Flurries expected next 12-15 hours.
Granny Smith apple blooming 2 1/2 weeks ago, many varieties not yet blooming. One of my February grafts had blooms … but I pinched them off today. (Thanks, Kate.)


Great looking trees!

I’m about to put in a Montmorency and North Star. Looks like they don’t grow too fast. Have you done much pruning to them? I’d like to keep the Montmorency and North Star below 8 feet.

How do you like your Stella? I planted a compact Stella earlier this year.


Actually, I’ve been somewhat surprised at the small size of my Montmorency trees, though for all I know all Montmorency trees may be that size. Mine actually are pretty close to 8 feet. Maybe 9 feet. And the only pruning I have ever done is thinning and opening the center a bit- never for height. And actually they got to that size fairly quickly. They actually hit 8 feet in about 4 years and have been about that size ever since. The obviously thing and and others will want to know is what root stock they are on, but I’m afraid I don’t know. My North Star grew slower and in its 4th year is only about 5 ft tall.

My stella is only a year old so I don’t know much about it yet. I did graft a piece of it onto both black tartarian and brooks cherries, but that was before I knew stella was so far behind in bloom time! I did it to help increase pollination, but now that looks like a wasted time.


Looks nice, your going to be getting lots of fruit soon.


Thanks John- but not if the darn weather doesn’t cooperate! This is the second year in a row that I lost almost all my stone fruit to late frosts. I finally think I’ve learned enough to fight the insects and diseases, but the weather has got me every year since my trees have been large enough to produce a lot of fruit. Oh well. Looking at the bright side, even though I lost about 80-90% of my stone fruit this year, there is a HUGE difference in getting no fruit and getting 10%. I’ll keep everything that made it so it will really by friends, family, and co-workers who suffer this year, not so much me! haha


My order from Brandt’s Fruit Trees came a week ago. Unfortunately I was away on a business trip, so they have been in the shipping box in my basement for a week. Got them out today to plant and was pleasantly surprised at the size.

I am not sure the pics do the trees justice but the roots on these trees are huge compared to other bare root trees I have ordered. The trees were labeled 1 inch, 3/4 (2), and 5/8. They are much larger than similarly labeled trees from other nurseries. Brandt invoices you for the cost after shipment so i don’t know the shipping cost, I think they charged me 12.50 per tree. I hope they did not dehydrate. There was still some moisture in the box.


I got 10 Maslin from them when Maslin was first grown in the USA, the shipping was a little on the high side, but the trees were nice.


Today we had nasty storm with rain/snow mix. My winter apricot enclosure that I already removed and I restored before the storm without central post for water run off broke under all that snow/rain weight. Fortunately, only few twigs of apricot were broken. But I learned something new. No, not the fact that laziness leads to disaster, that I new before. I learned that 1 inch plastic electrical conduit can bend down to make an arc with just a foot between its feet and when weight removed bonce right back. From other hand pvc corner fitting that seams unbreakable can crack in half and let that conduit to make that arc! Lesson learned! :grinning:


I grafted Karl’s favorite, and improved keiffer today. Just about done with pears now. I have a batch of peach to do next , maybe next week


Flower or leaf bud? Last year this was a flower bud and the only bud on the tree to produce a cherry. I really want this bud to turn vegetative. Do you thin If I remove any flowers it might decide to grow a branch?